tv Q A CSPAN May 27, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
obama offers remarks at the memorial day ceremony. our live coverage begins at 1050 -- 10:50 a.m. eastern standard time. here on c-span. next, "q & a" then david cameron takes comments. after that, a discussion about media coverage in china. >> this week on "q&a". former united states tickets service agent clint hill discusses his book entitled, "mrs. kennedy and me".
>> clint hill, author of "mrs. kennedy and me". what would be the difference between then and today? how would you do things differently? >> i have -- back then there were only to assign to mrs. kennedy and today there more than two. quite a few more. i do not know the exact order. that is benefici. there are female agents available. we did not have that luxury in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963. that makes a great deal of difference. no matter where she went, it drew a crowd and i caused a problem. we managed to do with that. and handle things the best we could. >> you have a story in your
book about the main -- a man named roddy mims. >> he was a photographer in washington, d.c.. somewhat of harassment to me and others. on one occasion he did something i was very upset about. i had arranged for mrs. kennedy to arrive in washington on the military flight which is unusual for her. but to do so quietly. a separate section at the national airport. we had arranged for the white house cars to be situated outside the fence, awaiting our arrival. when we got the plane stopped and ready to let mrs. kennedy get off, we opened the gates and let the white house drivers bring their cars in and as we
walked down the ramp, not only were the cars coming in but there was a motorcycle coming in which was unknown to me. there were two people on the motorcycle but one in the back had a camera and he was shooting away and it was him. he had penetrated security. i ran and grabbed him and i took his camera and i took off his belt. we went to the white house. he was very upset. i had to turn him over to the police because of his activity. they did not arrest him. but they held him for a while. i got to the white house, the first thing that happened, we
were in the oval office and there was the president and his press secretary. they said what happened at national airport? i explained the situation to them. the president looked at me and said, "unfortunately, you're going to be the scapegoat in this situation. we cannot afford to have the press angry at us for what happened at national airport so you are going to get the blame and we're going to return the film to the company that he is working for." i gave him the film, to the appropriate company. i answered to my supervisors and explained i was doing the best i could to maintain her privacy. the president understood also. i was going to have to take the blame. >> you did not use a word about his -- did you accuse him of being obnoxious? >> he was very obnoxious. one of the more obnoxious people i ever dealt with. i've heard that same story from other people and members of the press. >> there is a story about frank sinatra and you taking a phone
call. >> they used to take a number of phone calls for mr. sinatra. he called in december 1961 after ambassador kennedy had a stroke and he wanted to talk to mrs. kennedy. jacqueline kennedy. i have informed him, i had been instructed to four -- inform the operator when he called there was -- there were to channel the call through me. i talked to him and explained what was going on. we were in palm beach. we talked for 10 or 15 minutes about various things and that was a common occurrence whenever he would call. i would talk to him. >> what did not mrs. kennedy take the call? >> she did not find it necessary to talk to him all the time. she informed me when she got around to it she would call him and say hello but i do not know that she ever did.
i am not sure. >> your book has been on the best-seller list and you have been on the book tour. how many different cities have you been to? >> alessi. new york, twice, kansas city, san diego, san francisco, dallas, houston, chicago, and washington, d.c., and there's more to go. >> what have you found the public to be interested in? >> they're interested in the fact that this is a book that paints a portrait of mrs. kennedy. tells about her life, what she was really like. there is no gossip or salacious information. it is what happened and what she was like an how humorous she was and how intelligent she was. and kind of rambunctious. she'd tried to put me to the test many times and i did my best. >> i wrote down a quote. "whatever you do, do not let her cross paths with aristotle onassis."
>> president kennedy gave make -- me that instruction in 1961 when she went to greece the first time, when she went along. she had her sister with her. she went to an open air theater. we were on a yacht named the "north wind." the instruction was not to let mrs. kennedy crossed paths with aristotle onassis. he gave me this instruction in the presence of his brother, the attorney general. i tried to find out why. i found out he was in legal trouble with the united states government and the reason was for them not wanting them to cross paths is it was going to be a political embarrassment for the president and the party if she were seen in the company of aristotle onassis. >> how much time did she spend around him? >> never saw him.
in 1961. she had met him with the president at one time previous, an island off the coast in the mediterranean. his yacht was in the harbor. they were there, winston churchill was on board the yacht. senator kennedy wanted to meet winston churchill. they had arranged through mutual friends to go aboard and meet mr. churchill. she had met him. she did not see him in 1961. she did see him in 1963. >> 325 foot yacht named "christina." how much time did you spend on it? >> it was about 10 days, i believe. >> why was she there? >> this was 1963. she gave birth to a bill or a in massachusetts. today's letter, a young patrick
died. mrs. kennedy became very depressed. her sister flew in from london to be with her. she and her husband happened to be friends with on nasa's -- onassis. he made the yacht available and they decided it would be a good idea to get away and that would make an excellent platform to tour the area and get away. president kennedy wanted her to do it. members of the staff for free concerned about her doing this because it was -- there were concerned about how it will book. the president insisted cheaper
-- be permitted to do it. the wind up into turkey and came back out it was part of the cruise's. >> in your opinion, why did she and marry him? >> it was after rory kennedy was killed. she was very distraught about that. she was concerned about the security of the children and herself. even though she had protection at the time. she was still concerned and he offered something that no one else could offer. he owned a private island, that is where they lived and a
private yacht. an airline, he had a great big apartment and he had won in new york. he could offer her everything she needed in regard to your privacy and safety. >> how many presidents have you worked for? >> 5. >> when you think about dwight eisenhower, what do you think about? how old were you? >> i was 27. he was a retired four-star general. he was held in highest regard by everyone worldwide. for a young kid from north dakota to be in the presence of a president was really special. he was a remarkable man. he was quite personable. he did not by name. he referred to as "hey, agent"
when he wanted to address us. he loved to play golf. we spent a lot of time on the golf course. we traveled a lot, too. we traveled all over europe and southeast asia. we went to the philippines and taipei and korea. we had -- it was an enormous experience for me. >> you mentioned no. did -- north dakota. you are adopted. >> when i was told i was five or six years old. roll off the street told me, and teasing me i was adopted and i did not know what it meant. and when home to my mother. what does that mean? she was very concerned about the fact i had found out. she was afraid i would not have the kind -- some kind of my relationship knowing that i was
somebody else's child. i also had a sister who was adopted. we were not biological. she had been adopted before me. we formed a bond, we would never raise the issue because she was -- my mother was so concerned. >> jack cannady called do client. did anyone else call you "hey, agent?" >> president johnson called me clint and other things. >> steady ever swear you? >> i do not think so. this is a tape of president johnson and jacqueline kennedy talking in december of 1963. let's listen. [audio tape] >> this congress is getting
rough and i may have to send for you. >> i hope you will be home for christmas. will you? >> i do not know. >> it is so nice to call me, mr. president. you must be out of your mind with were piled up. >> i have a few things to do but not anything i enjoy more than what i am doing now. how is my little girl? >> fine. [inaudible] noisy in the background. >> tell him hello and i wish you all merry christmas and i wish i could do something to make it easier for you. >> you have to add everything you could. thank you so much. >> you know how much we love you? >> your awfully nice. >> you do not know? >> yes, i do. >> you had better know.
all 180 million liviu, -- love you, dear. if you come back here again and do not see me, there is going to be trouble. i have the fbi at my disposal. >> i promise i will. >> i will send for you if you do not come back. >> good. >> sometime it will clear the traffic jam in georgetown. you have a good christmas, dear. >> fenty you. >> good night. >> you spent a year with her after the assassination and she did not want to look at the white house again. >> she had a difficult time. very emotional for. she moved out into georgetown and she did not want to go by the white house. >> she went back for richard
nixon. >> eventually. it was -- i cannot give you a year. it was one a portrait was unveiled. -- when a portrait was unveiled. >> you were 28 and she was 31. what are we hearing in this audiotape? is it accurate about either one of their personalities? >> i think is accurate for both of them. that voice of hers is unmistakable. that is her. that is the way she talked. that is the way she acted. it is also president johnson. he was all sweetness and light when he wanted to be. and it was different when he did not want to be. that was him, the way he was. >> who named this book, "mrs. kennedy and me"? >> it was lisa mccoven. she is a fantastic writer. you should talk to her some time. >> you were here to talk about the kennedy detail, the book
that you did with gerald plane -- blaine. >> i contributed to the book and wrote the foreword. he -- she took the information he had put together and worked on that and went to great lengths to obtain information from the agencies and contacts. she put all that information together. it was in the process that she asked for my help. i was in dallas. gerry blaine was not. she needed to talk to someone who had been there. i got to know lisa and trusted her and had confidence in her. she convinced me the information i had about mrs. kennedy was
historical. and should be documented. over time, she convinced me that does -- that is what i should do. a former white house reporter came to me and said, we have covered the president and mrs. kennedy. we were never permitted to interview her. we never really knew her. you did. you owe it to the american people, the public to document that and put it down on paper. after a while, i thought, "welcome i might as well do it." >> when was this book finished? >> we had a deadline of september 1. we finished it november 1, 2000 -- 2011. >> since your last year, the eight and a half hours of conversation between arthur slesinger and mrs. cannady was released.
[audio tape] >> he never did them. he could have made his council on human rights are something or gone ahead with it, equal opportunity, he could have done more with the space thing. he just never wanted to make any decisions or do anything that would put him in a position. what he would like to do is go on these trips and he never liked [inaudible] national security meeting. he would just say he agreed with them. he would keep really quiet. >> were you there? >> i was in the house. i had talked to arthur schlessinger. i was not in the room. >> recorded in 1964 between march and june. what i want to ask you, robert
caro's book is out about the distance between the johnsons and the kennedys. what did you see there? did you see any of that? >> there was certainly a difference between the two. over time, i saw. it affected me in 1964 when i was transferred from mrs. kennedy back to the white house to tell with president johnson. one of the first things that happened is we went to the lbj ranch for thanksgiving and he spotted me as i was going from one post to another. he put the word out to the two agents closest to him he did not want me around.
he knew i had been with the kennedys. he did not think i should be there. they told me about it. youngblood went to talk to the president and convinced him i was there as a professional and i was not there as a political. he finally agreed to allow me to stay. >> when did you end up having up his detail? >> two years later. >> how did that go? >> it was one of those things. there was going to be a change at the very top. they have their trust between myself and another gentleman. apparently, they talk to the president and i was selected for the job. >> what did you do with gerald ford? >> i was the set -- assistant director. >> you are not on his detail. >> i was responsible for the men that were there. >> how about richard nixon? >> it with him. i was promoted to assistant director. >> what have you found that people expect from you in this
book? you say no gossip, none of that. some people say it implies these two were very close. closer than just agent to protectee. >> we were close. very close friends. professional. i knew a lot of her secrets and she . it is accurate in saying really close. i wanted to have people get a better understanding of who she was. there have been a lot of books written. most of it has been written by people who talked to friends of friends of friends. people who do not have the information themselves. i happen to be there and i knew her. we had a direct relationship. i finally decided it was time to put on paper and let people know what she was really like. did she ever get mad and you? and if she did, why?
>> she got upset a few times because of certain things that either happened -- she was not the kind who got mad. anythingg to remember that really upset her. i remember when she was thrown from a horse and came off a horse because of a photographer. she was mad but not at me. she was mad at the photographer. i tried to get the film and could not get it. >> who was a photographer? what were the circumstances? >> marshall hawkins. she was riding with the orange county hunt. i was surveilling her on vehicle. we did not ride with her on horses. they thought it was too dangerous and expenses -- expensive. we surveiled her from a vehicle. i noticed there was someone in
the bushes and we're going to have to jump. before i could do anything, he stood up and the horse approach defense. -- the fans. the horse put its hoves into the ground and mrs. kennedy went over the head of of the horse. she fell off with her hands extended and did a role and got right back off. -- roll and got right back off. she was not hurt. but i was mad, myself. i chased the photographer. i did not get the film. >> she was between 31 and 34 or 35 in your 28. -- and you were 28. >> i was there in 1960, i started with her after the election. caroline was three years of age. i had a boy that was 4 years old. we have that one child and john was born in 1969 and another boy in 1962.
we had children almost the same age. >> i went back and researched the years that children were born and caroline in 1957, a miscarriage in 1955. a stillborn child in 1956. it would not have been there for that. and john jr. in 1960 and you mad -- you mentioned patrick boothby cannady -- bouvier kennedy. >> when john was born in 1960, the president was not there because he had to come back to georgetown. he left that evening and flew back to palm beach. he was setting up his cabinet and everything. when he left that evening to go to palm beach, i found that mrs. kennedy was going to go to bat for the night so i went to my home.
a couple of hours later i get a phone call. yet been taken by ambulance to georgetown hospital saar rushed over there and john was born. the president was on his way to florida at the time. it could not get in touch with him until he got on the ground in florida. we notified him of what was going on and got on the press plane because it was after. we flew back to washington so we got back early in the morning and came to the hospital to see mrs. kennedy and a new baby. >> how did you remember all this? >> it was imbedded in my mind. >> did you keep notes? >> i did but i destroy them a few years ago which made it more difficult. >> why? >> i promise i would never write a book. i vowed i would never do so, never contribute to a book or talk to anyone about it. just to make sure would never get myself involved, i burned everything. there were few mementos i kept. for the most part i burned all my notes.
now when the opportunity presented itself and i decided, i have to go back and talk to other agents for worked with who did have extra notes. and check everything through newspaper archives for dates and times and places to make sure was accurate. so it was very tedious. to write the book. >> you remember the year you burn your notes? -- burned your notes? >> 2012. it was maybe after 2005. >> what changed your mind? what really changed your mind? >> this was historical and i have read a number of books written about mrs. kennedy. a lot of the information and there's not very true for the
most part. i thought it was time that someone brought out the truth, what kind of person she was, what she was like. that was one of the big reasons i wrote it. >> you said she lived in seven different houses when you were guarding her. >> cape cod, palm beach, two in palm beach. two in cape cod, that is four. she spent time in newport, that is 5. newburg, camp david, the white house, [inaudible] in georgetown, another house, a lot more than seven.
>> why did she need all those different places? >> they left georgetown to go to the white house and then they built. after the assassination, she had to leave the white house, she did not have a place to go. someone offered his house for sheehan the children to move into. the house across the street became available. so she bought that house. then over time, the local bus company owner thought this would be a great tourist attraction and he started running tourist buses by there and we could not stop it. we tried. he refused to stop.
she decided, time to move from this area. and move back to new york city. we went to new york and she found a place at 1040 fifth avenue. that was another residence i forgot to mention. on the cake, they owned a house in the kennedy compound but it got very congested there because of the business of the president. all this press and everything else. the first year they stayed in their own home but realizing how busy it was, they had a place on an island in the next two years.
one was -- [inaudible] and another house. they regularly stayed with ambassador cannady but it became too much for everyone. they had a friend who had a home and the least the house in palm beach. in middle birk -- middleberg, they leased a place but the owner terminated the lease. they had to build a house [inaudible] that was another house she lived in. >> what kind of trouble that the cause for you? >> it meant that every place there was a resident's, we have to reestablish security and we had to set up new communications. it caused problems. when she built the house in middleburg, called wexford, we built in some security devices and they decided to rent the house. that created a problem. >> you have found yourself out there in middleburg and cape cod but the president would not be there. how often were the apart? it seems like i read a lot. >> the work separated -- they
were separated a lot. he was traveling and everything else. she wanted to spend a lot of time away from the white house and she did. spent a lot of time in middleburg. go out there on friday and spend time out there until monday or tuesday. the president would come out saturday. we return to washington on sunday for business. >> what did you think of their relationship? >> from what i saw firsthand, i was there. there were very -- a very loving couple with a great deal of respect for each other.
depended and supported each other. i saw nothing other than a very loving husband and wife and very devoted parents to two children. >> i am sure you have seen this and i have to ask you about this. here is an interview with meredith viera a couple of months ago. [video tape] >> when you keep a secret and when you keep silent about something, you do it because you think it is keeping you save when in fact, it is deadly. >> the secret started in 1962 when a debutante began what she said was an 18-month affair with john f. kennedy. the revelation was revealed in 2003 when a historian wrote in his biography of jfk that a tall, slender, beautiful white house intern was rumored to be among the president's many paramours. at the time she declined to offer details. she offered a short statement and disappeared. now she is talking and singing her close encounter first place in this indoor heated pool at the white house. the invitation came from a presidential aide, dave powers. >> you had heard this before she published her book? >> and note.
not really. >> you read the book? >> part of it. >> what did you think? >> i question how she could get up in the morning and look yourself in the mirror. >> why do you think she wrote it? >> money. they had a close rove -- loving relationship but when you read this book, she went all over the country to be with him and even in the middle of the cuban missile crisis, she was supposedly somewhere in the white house. you never saw any evidence of this. i never saw her. i never knew of her. i was with mrs. kennedy and we were gone a lot. this allegedly happened in the 62 era. in 1962 we were -- in indiana, i was there for about six weeks. in summer we were either in
cape cod or italy. we were not at the white house a great deal of time but i never knew this person, never saw her. >> your book is without any controversy in it whatsoever. you were upset, alas, talked about oliver stone's movie. what should we believe and what matters? >> i am telling it like it is. showing you what she was like. i have no reason to do otherwise. if people want to believe what they want to believe, nothing i can do about that. this is mrs. kennedy as i knew her. this is our relationship.
from 1960 to 1964 and beyond. there is no reason to put anything in there that is not true. >> iovanna amazon -- you go on amazon, there are 50 reviews and 60 are five star positive. have you read any of them? >> i have. i am not to agree with a computer. -- not too great with a computer , yet. i am learning. >> this is full of nothing but praise and and it says, "i learned more than a few fascinating insights. jackie was more of an athlete. it was not just at the kennedy -- ethel cannady. she was also very self- centered." >> somewhat. not completely. not overwhelmingly. >> i have a tad more empathy for president kennedy and his hound dog ways.
jackie kennedy was missing in action of the time. >> we were gone a lot. i do not know what was transpiring while we were gone. i cannot comment about anything about him. >> if mr. hill had opened up his personal life as he is telling the story, this could have been a much more powerful book. anyone know how the hill kids turned out? did his wife divorced him? if she did not, she should get a medal. >> my wife and i are not together and have not been for some time. >> still alive? >> yes. >> i have two sons and a live in the virginia area.
-- they live in the virginia area. >> do you have any regrets that you were away 80% of the time? >> dess because my sons grew up without me. we are closer now than we were then. i have the regret. it put a very big strain on my marriage, no question about that. it was my job. i really enjoyed and wanted to do and did. >> you said you left the service when you were 43. >> yes. >> you are close to 80. >> i am 80. on the calendar, item 80. >> not on the calendar, if you are what, 60? >> 52. >> when was the bad period, when you talk about living in the basement and drinking? >> six months after i retired and a doctor told me it was either quit when i was doing or die. >> what were your days like? >> i would get up in the morning and drink. i did not do anything. friends would come and see me. i would not respond to them. i recalled to of them, i was in the basement on the couch. i did not get up.
i did not want anything to do with anybody. and did not have anything to do with anybody. finally i started to snap out of it when the doctor convinced me i had to change. i went cold turkey. it was not easy. i were out of my shirt pockets trying to get the cigarettes that were not there. over time, i got better until 1990, i went back to dallas and that helped a lot. >> what did the doctor tell you that got you out of it in 1981? >> he told me i was going to die if i was -- kept doing what i was doing. i was damaging every part of my body. that apparently scared me enough to make a change and so i did. greece also talk about pain. can you describe the pain you are talking about?
>> it is emotional pain. some agents that i worked with still are going through that pain. it will not talk about the assassination. i was reminded every day of what had happened. some way or another. weather was -- if it was a news article or a song, something else. it was something that reminded me. there really pained me. -- it really pained me. i had failed. no one wants to be a failure but i had failed in an attempt to protect the president and i knew that. it just killed me.
we're talking in may and here is your picture in the paper. i know that. it is always there. i reminded all the time. because of my contributing and now writing this book myself, have been able to emotionally climb the ladder. thanks to lisa who helped me get out of the dungeon. if it were not for her, i would still be there. >> what is your reaction to the problems that came out of columbia? >> i was shocked. i am glad that the director took immediate action. without prior to the time anyone knew about it, they knew about it and he took immediate action before any press inquiries or anything else. i am sad and to know that the entire agency has been painted with the same brush.
everyone has that sense they do not trust them anymore probably. they continue to work day in and day out. in the midst of this, they'd take the president to afghanistan in the middle of the night and he has a successful trip there and back. that is what they do on a day- to-day basis. the should not be blamed for something that nine or whatever the number is, other people dead. it was wrong. extremely poor judgment. >> who is james reilly? >> he was the director in 1973. >> here is lyndon johnson and james ralley on the phone. [audiotape] >> you're going to kill more people than you save.
all you are doing is running over little children and you are running over someone's foot. someone's gone will go off and cause more danger. i wish you would tell them to stay behind me so they do not run over the people who try and shake hands with me. >> yes, sir. >> i am writing this fellow in georgia. assistant chief of police. secret service car ran over him at college park and broke his foot, he is now in a cast. that is what i have been telling them about. they like to stay within 1 foot of me and i do not know why. if they stayed 30 yards behind it would be safer. i stopped to -- they probably will hit my bumper. i told you about the rancher.
>> yes, sir. you did, sir. >> they think it is outrageous and the republican will be writing the story on it. we could not use them if we were down there. >> yes, sir. >> you might need one or two when we pick them up in austin but i sure would have ford station and 26 there. i have not been home since before easter. >> that is right, sir. thank you, sir. >> what are you hearing? >> at least mr. rally had to talk to him. he would talk to me the same way and he would probably in the test because i was 2 feet away and that was lyndon johnson. that is the way he treated myself and everybody else. he was just venting, that is what he was doing. and then he would be fine.
he would get off his chest. >> i am looking at the obituary on this day of the former dallas medical examiner who examined everyone at the assassination, the whole around it, the people who were involved in that day. the secret service did not allow him to do an autopsy on president kennedy,? >> because it would take too long. is president johnson was in dallas as well. we wanted him to leave. he would not leave until mrs. kennedy was ready to go.
mrs. kennedy would not leave without the president's body. we wanted to get the president's body back to washington. we thought the autopsy should be done in washington in a military facility. walter reed or bethesda. they said in dallas, the medical examiner and others, the loss said they had to do the autopsy there in dallas. we understood the law. a judge came in and told us this was the law, nothing we could do about it. we finally said, we're going to have to go anyway. until we acquiesced, they said ok, you will have to have a medical profession are -- professional go with the body and we did. the article indicates they let
us go because mrs. kennedy wanted to leave. >> she wanted to leave but she had a conversation with dr. rose. >> dr. rose believe it many of those theories would not have gained traction, meaning the conspiracy theories, if he would have been able to do his job. >> i do not know that is true. the theory speculate everything from our moving the body and putting a different body in a casket and all kinds of other things which is absolutely stupid, ridiculous, and down. nothing was done that in any way change the outcome. the body was taken to bethesda in maryland. the autopsy was performed under the observation of the fbi agents and secret service agents. the results are known.
>> the fellow we talked about, have you seen his letters about your book? >> i have not read them. >> you know that he said "mrs. kennedy and me" is highly recommended for the truth. he fully endorsed your book even though he has been critical. >> maybe he has had some secret agenda, i do not know. i accept his praise, thank you. >> you say that you and mrs. kennedy never talked about the assassination. why not? >> i was not going to bring it out. she never did. -- bring it up. it is something she never talked to with anyone.
you will find the assassination, there is only one reference to it. the end of a tour that people take, there is the walter cronkite statement. other than that, there is no reference whatsoever. the entire library is based on his wife and his legacy. >> when she slept, you slept. >> yes. which was not less -- much. >> who was protecting her? >> field agents were supplements for the midnight shift. a new york agent would be there to work when we did not. when she moved, we were with her. we had field office agents supplementing us either -- even then. we did not know the city that well and the field office did. they had great contacts.
when we went to a certain restaurant, they would get in touch. they did a lot of our workforce. >> after the assassination and you were there in dallas, how did you approach the next 48, 72 hours? what was your life like? >> i was devoted to making sure she was ok. whenever she needed, we were going to make sure she had. i did not get any sleep. the morning of the 23rd, i went home at 6:00 a.m. to shower and change and come back to work. i worked until midnight that night and went home and got a few hours' sleep. same way for the rest of that week. on thanksgiving, we flew to massachusetts so she could talk to his father. there was something we had to do because there were not any other people to take our place and we knew that she would want us with her. and we wanted to be with her. >> where were you during that time? where exactly did you go with her? >> a replay she went.
>> what was your life like? >> -- her life like? >> we left with the body on the morning of the 23rd and went back to the white house. the body was placed in state in the east room. she and some members of family were there. i went to my office which was on the ground floor. when i found out she had gone to sleep and was in for a while, i went home and took a shower and change clothes and came back. during the day on the 23rd, she began to set plans for the funeral. she had sargent shriver, her brother-in-law set up an office in the white house and work with people and she wanted it done a certain way. they did it that way. that afternoon i took her over to the national cemetery and we met the secretary of defense
there, mcnamara. they blocked around looking where they wanted the president to be buried and pecked out the spot and we went back to the white house. the next morning was sunday the twenty-fourth. it would be a service in the east room for the family and staff. the body was taken. the president and mrs. johnson came to the white house because there were living at [inaudible] they picked up the children and accompanied the body and place it in state. before that happened, i was in the east wing of the white house with my boss. the phone rang and it was general mccue. saying mrs. kennedy and robert kennedy [inaudible] i ran over and we opened the casket to make sure everything was ok. and allowed them to go see the president. in the process, she asked me to get her a pair of scissors and i did.
she did what she wanted to do. >> she cut off a piece of his hair? >> what did she do with that? >> i do not know. also the guards who were around the casket. >> at first we have the guards moved out of their office. she said no. she asked them to turn around so we can have some privacy. they took three steps back and faced with from the casket. that is when she and bobby kennedy looked in the casket. >> why did she decide to walk to st. matthew's? how far is that away? >> it is less than a mile. she wanted to walk the entire route. >> to the capitol? >> all the way. the white house to sit matthews
to arlington. finding out all these heads of state would be there, some of them were in their 80s -- eddie's. -- 80's. even then that was a problem. you could not talk her out of it. >> there is more to the story of the salute from john, jr.. >> in early november, she said president kennedy will go to arlington national cemetery on november 11. i want john to go with him and i want him to salute his father like all the military will. he does not know how. can you teach him?
sure. the agents that were working with him, they started to work with him and they got him going pretty good. he saluted quite well. most of the time using his left hand. he was then 3. not quite three. he went with his father and did very well. during the process of the federal we were up by in the capital and he got rambunctious and went down the hall to a side office. they tried to figure out what to do so they had him practice they salute and he always did it with his left hand. there was a marine colonel in the doorway watching. the guy was not there. he came walking in and said john, you have got it all wrong.
he showed him how to salute. and that stuck with him. he did learn how with his right hand. took the agents forever trying to teach him to do it. and he did not quite get it. it took him about two minutes and he taught him that salute. the day of the funeral and the president's body was roofed from the church and placed on the case on -- caisson to go to arlington. she said, a salute your father, and he did. >> you were working on the ford detail, president ford was shot at twice. did they actually shoot at him, both of them? >> that happened one month after
i retired. one of them did actually shoot at him. the bullet went over his head. an agent jammed his thumb between the hammer of the cylinder. >> we have about a minute left or so. knowing what you have been through, living the bad years when the drinking and all that stuff, what would you recommend to someone who is doing what you did to avoid this kind of personal difficulty? >> willingly seek counsel. talk to people what you have gone through. see a psychiatrist. get it out. holding it in was what caused the problem. i did not talk to anyone. other agents, my family, everyone. i kept it inside and that is what got me. >> the end of the book, you wrote "we had been through so much together, mrs. kennedy in may, more than anyone can
imagine. -- and me, more than anyone can imagine. more than anyone can ever know." is there a lot that we do not know that has been kept out of this book? >> not a lot kept out of the book. she and i had secrets, they are not in the book because that is what they are. a few of them are revealed. she smoked. >> three and a half packs a day. >> i do not know if it was that much. i, yeah. i do not think it was her. i also -- she also read the tabloids. >> you're not going to put them in a bottle and hide them until 50 years or now? >> i do not. >> the book is called "mrs. kennedy and me". thank you very much. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> for a dvd copy of this program call 1-877-662-7266. for free transcripts or if your comments, visit us at qanda.org. programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> next sunday. >> the problem is people see walter cronkite as an avuncular, friendly man. there was another side of him. he was probably the fiercest competitor. competitor.